The hierarchical assembly of septins revealed by high-speed AFM.

Nature Communications
Fang JiaoSimon Scheuring


Septins are GTP-binding proteins involved in diverse cellular processes including division and membrane remodeling. Septins form linear, palindromic heteromeric complexes that can assemble in filaments and higher-order structures. Structural studies revealed various septin architectures, but questions concerning assembly-dynamics and -pathways persist. Here we used high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) and kinetic modeling which allowed us to determine that septin filament assembly was a diffusion-driven process, while formation of higher-order structures was complex and involved self-templating. Slightly acidic pH and increased monovalent ion concentrations favor filament-assembly, -alignment and -pairing. Filament-alignment and -pairing further favored diffusion-driven assembly. Pairing is mediated by the septin N-termini face, and may occur symmetrically or staggered, likely important for the formation of higher-order structures of different shapes. Multilayered structures are templated by the morphology of the underlying layers. The septin C-termini face, namely the C-terminal extension of Cdc12, may be involved in membrane binding.


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Methods Mentioned

atomic force microscopy
electron microscopy

Related Concepts

Protein Domain
In Silico
Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
Microscopy, Atomic Force
Static Charge

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